Plans submitted for new food engineering centre at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park

The new Centre will sit alongside Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, and will become the latest University facility on the site, following in the footsteps of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC).

Plans for the research-led centre include laboratories, workshops and teaching spaces with work focusing on engineering processes of food production and addressing an industry recognised shortage of food engineering expertise.

The application was submitted to Sheffield City Council today and will play a strategic role in developing advanced engineering capability for the food and drink industry, providing a major competitive advantage to the sector.

The application is due to be decided by the council by the end of May. If successful, work will begin on site in July 2018 with the centre due to open in March 2019.

The Centre is designed to tackle food industry challenges such as productivity, producing more for less, minimising waste and reducing costs. It will support the food and drink industry by developing new and enhanced facilities, processes and equipment and creating a knowledgeable workforce with experience of leading engineering systems and processes.

The centre, and the associated Master's degree, MEng Food Engineering, are supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and have been developed in partnership with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, along with funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

Dr Martin Howarth, director of the centre, said: "The centre will support the food and drink industry to develop and implement new and enhanced facilities, processes and equipment, to keep the UK at the forefront of capability and efficiency in a very competitive sector.

"It will also enhance the development of a highly educated and knowledgeable workforce, through staff development and supporting employees with experience of leading engineering systems and processes.

"This project builds on our existing strong track record of providing excellent research and knowledge transfer, and of working in partnership with industry to develop education programmes that are designed to support companies by creating highly skilled and employable graduates, ready for the world of work."

The announcement follows the news that two world-class research and innovation centres in healthcare are the latest multi-million-pound developments planned for Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park – the Centre for Child Health Technology (CCHT) and the Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Research and Innovation Centre (ORRIC).

Richard Caborn, Project Lead of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and former Minister for Sport, said: “We welcome the investment by Sheffield Hallam University in this research facility which, when constructed opposite the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, will add to the research capabilities of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.”